Warm as Wool



Betsy Ward’s three children were cold.  Their teeth started clicking soon after they left their old home in Connecticut, in September of 1803.  They rode a rackety wagon through New York.  They crossed Lake Erie in a tippy boat, rain in their faces, waves bucking under them like wild horses.  They landed on the shore near Cleveland and squished through mud past the village of Ravenna into the dark Ohio woods, where they made their new home.

During the month of December (and part of January) we rowed two stories that had similar themes with sheep and coldness, patience and perseverance.  Some of the activities overlap each other, but this story was the first in our two-part sheep unit study.

Social Studies:

We took our story disk and traced the route from Connecticut to Ohio that the Ward’s took in their wagon.


We talked about what it would be like to travel so far in a covered wagon.  I compared their trip to the longest we’ve ever taken with the kids, which would be a six hour drive…in a vehicle…with stops to use real restrooms and eat convenience foods!

We also talked about what it would be like to live in a log cabin during the cold Ohio winters.

Fine Arts:

The boys built a covered wagon out of popsicle sticks.


We were really just kind of winging it at first.


Conner passed the time waiting for his turn by counting popsicle sticks.  😉

After a few attempts at our wagon and a little help from daddy (he forgot to take pictures of his progress), this is what we ended up with…


An adorable floor-less wagon!

We also attempted to make a cabin out of popsicle sticks, but then it dawned on me that we have lincoln logs!


So we dumped them out and the boys got to work building their log cabin.




Complete with a corral for the sheep (or horses in our case) that Betsy kept…



I found a simple sheep picture on-line and printed up eight of them, since that was the number of sheep that Betsy originally purchased from the drover.


I read through the story and had the boys subtract a sheep each time one of the sheep in the story died.  They subtracted until they ended up with three sheep.  And with those three sheep (only one Ewe), Betsy Ward began her flock.


We learned a little bit about sheep and watched a really interesting video on sheep-shearing:

We also read some go-along stories about sheep and/or traveling in wagons…


And finally, we ate some Shepherd’s Pie for dinner.


I make my shepherd’s pie with cooked and seasoned ground beef, pinto beans, and whatever frozen veggies I have on hand (usually peas, corn, and green beans or carrots).  I mix that all with a little bit of tomato soup and then top with homemade mashed potatoes and cheese.  Then I bake it in the oven.  It’s yummy with cornbread and butter.  🙂

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